Thursday, January 30, 2014

Living British

Many of you have been asking all about living the British life in our (hard to believe) four months here so far.Since ministry with teens and much of our lives happen on base and with Americans, we aren't as immersed in All Things Britain as you might expect, but we have learned a lot through life in the village and the boys' school.Here's a sampling of the life and culture we're adjusting to so far.


One of my (Chris') highlights of the week is anytime I walk the boys to the school bus stop, for the simple fact of getting to talk to and listen to the parents there.I'm always learning new terms. For instance, you go sledging (not sledding) in the snow.You hoover out your car (not vacuum).You put your baby in the "creche" during the school play (not the nursery).A tramp is a hobo, NOT a loose woman.Also, you study maths in school (not math).And a crib service is a family friendly nativity service that our village church did the Sunday before Christmas. (pictured)


It's been fun to hear the boys gradually picking up British accents, particularly Liam.It took us awhile to figure out their friend Dossie at school was Darcy.We've had to adjust to things they're excited about being "Oh-some" instead of "awe-some", or the time being "eight thuh-tee" instead of "eight thir-ty".Liam likes to hand me his "rubbish" to hold or throw away.And Eli informed me that if you don't understand someone, you're supposed to say "Pah-din?" ("pardon?") instead of "What did you say?"


I noticed that on base kids always walked or had parents pick them up/drop them off.It took me awhile to learn that you can't drive until 18, so basically no American kids on base drive or have cars.As a result, all Club events are done after school or earlier in the evening so parents can pick them up.Big adjustment to ministry for me!It also narrows our search for a great babysitter...


There were lots of unexpected adjustments to domestic life.Evidently dishwashers aren't necessarily standard in houses.We're going to get one installed, but having to hand-wash dishes for the last three months has given us a vastly new appreciation for dishwashers...British washing machines hold about half the size of the loads of their American counterparts, and the shortest cycle you can pick is 1.5 hrs.This means as a family of five, if we're not doing laundry every day, we are instantly behind!...Dryers are also not standard; most folks use outdoor laundry lines and the indoor "airing cupboard," which is a closet with wood slat drying shelves above the house's hot water tank. We use both, but we did also get a dryer.It has to go in the outdoor garage, a short walk from the house, which makes it interesting doing laundry when it's cold, dark, and/or rainy!The dryer is also a condenser dryer - no exhaust vent, you just have to pull out the water tray and dump it outside after every load.... To use our tiny shower, you have to go to the airing cupboard and turn the hot water pump on...Heating the house is done by radiators, not central heat, thus there is no thermostat.You have a panel where you can program the hot water heater for the radiators to come on twice per day, for as long as you want.This has taken a good bit of experimenting to get right!


Our drive northwards out of our village takes us through some farmland and patches of woodland.We regularly see pheasants and magpies hanging out in the fields or crossing the road.On three different occasions now (all at night), we've seen little dog-sized deer, which we've now learned are called muntjac deer.Here's some pics of all three (and no, we didn't take these pictures).We have no idea yet when hunting season is for different animals, but we hear shots in the countryside throughout the day.
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